August 10, 2016

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Welcomes Class of 2020 at First-Year Student Convocation

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will present its 2016 First-Year Student Convocation at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, in the P.E. Complex. All members of the Class of 2020, as well as interested faculty, staff, and friends of the university, are invited to attend this informative and celebratory event.

The First-Year Student Convocation is designed to officially welcome first-year students, commonly referred to as freshmen, to the Blazer Nation family and share with them the importance of the role they will play in continuing VSU’s tradition of academic, creative, athletic, and service excellence during the next four years.

To kick off this event, the first-year students will each receive a special VSU Class of 2020 T-shirt. They will also be asked to make a commitment to uphold the core values of civility, integrity, and citizenship found in the Blazer Creed, pledging to forever be a Blazer who shows courtesy and compassion, as well as respect for the dignity of every human being; a Blazer who is responsible for his or her own actions and who understands that a community is stronger when all of its members contemplate the context of their decisions and uphold the principles of trust and honesty; a Blazer who has an interest in the well being of the community and a duty to stay informed, to make positive contributions, and to offer support to those who need help.

Valdosta native Blake Woodruff will serve as the master of ceremonies during the First-Year Student Convocation. A former Blazer who left school to work in New York City as a television, film, and Broadway talent agent and manager, he recently made the decision to return home and complete his education where it all began. He plans to graduate from VSU with a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies, emphasizing mass media and communication arts, in May 2017.

VSU’s Class of 2020 will hear inspiring life wisdom, as well as motivational and encouraging words, from Dr. Kelli Brown, interim president; Dr. Brian Gerber, interim provost and vice president for the Division of Academic Affairs; Dr. Christine James, a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies; Maya Mapp, a philosophy and political science major and incoming president of the Student Government Association; Colleen Kavanaugh, a speech communication major; and Rickey Hooks, an interdisciplinary studies major studying biology, international business, and psychology. Each of their talks is inspired by this year’s common reader, “This I Believe: Life Lessons,” which all first-year students were asked to read during the summer.

The First-Year Convocation will conclude with the singing of the alma mater, led by Brittany DiGiammarino, who graduated in December 2015 with a Bachelor of Music in music education and is currently pursuing a Master of Music Performance in vocal performance at VSU. The Class of 2020 will then gather on Reames Field for a group photo.

Later in the afternoon, VSU’s first-year students will meet in small groups to discuss their summer reading assignment, “This I Believe: Life Lessons,” as edited by Dan Gediman, Mary Jo Gediman, and John Gregory and based on the “This I Believe” radio program aired on NPR and Bob Edwards’s shows on Sirius XM Satellite and public radio. The will be followed by food and festivities in Palms Quad.

“This book brings together treasured life lessons of people from all walks of life and provides us a good opportunity for starting the conversation about values and beliefs,” shared Dr. Lai Orenduff, dean of undergraduate studies and assistant vice president for the Division of Academic Affairs. “It will help us grow together as a university community.”

Please contact Dr. Lai Orenduff at (229) 333-6001 or to learn more.